'Earligold F1' is a standard sweet corn, it is grown primarily for early fresh market sweet corn, and for specialised markets. It is an early variety, cropping in around 10 to 12 weeks, producing 1 to 2 cobs per plant.
Sweet corn is very easy to look after and ideal for under-cropping as their foliage lets though a lot of light. (dwarf french beans, radish, lettuce etc)
Freshly picked from the garden, it is far tastier than those from shops as the sugar in sweet corn quickly turns to starch giving a very dull flavour. Freshly picked sweet corn is also very nutritious.
Sweetcorn is shallow rooted: protection from winds and water loss in the soil is very important. They grow tall: 75 to 170cm (30 to 65in). so take care not to shade other vegetables. Each plant has an average spread of 45cm (18in).
Each plant carries both male and female flowering parts - the cob being the female part and the tassels at the top of the plant being the male parts.
Sweetcorn is wind pollinated and best planted in large blocks, where the male flowers at the top of the plant have more opportunity to shed their pollen on the female tassels (where the cobs will form) below. Each plant will produce one or two cobs, so work out how many cobs you are likely to need (you can freeze them) and provide enough space to achieve this.
Prepare the site:
Sweetcorn likes free-draining, moisture retentive soil. First remove weeds and dig over the site with a spade, removing any particularly large stones. Level roughly and then work over the area with a rake to leave a fine finish.
To ensure your crop gets off to a flying start, spread some general fertiliser granules over the planting area and gently rake in to the surface. If you can, try to do this two or three weeks before planting or sowing. Corn is a heavy feeder, requiring rich soil. Nitrogen is especially important, since corn is basically a grass. An inch or two of compost or rotted manure will also work, as will feeding with fish emulsion
Sweetcorn seed does not germinate below 10°C (50°F) Start off indoors in spring or sow directly outside from May.
It must have a long warm season to perform well. This means around 70 to 110 frost free days after planting at around 16 to 35°C (61°F to 95°F).
Sowing Indoors: Sow indoors in Spring
Start the plants off indoors in cells or pots filled with moist compost. The compost should be moist, but definitely not wet. Wet compost will be cold and reduces the oxygen that the seeds need to germinate. It may even stop the seeds germinating at all. Sow two seeds to each pot. Thin to leave the strongest seedling when they are 2cm (1in) tall.
Plants can go into the soil from May. Using a trowel, set sweet corn plants 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) with 60cm (24in) between rows to form a block.
Sweetcorn should be grown in blocks to ensure even pollination. There are no rules about how large the block has to be, this will be determined by how many plants you decide to grow.
Sowing Direct: Sow outdoors once the soil has warmed, from May
You can grow corn by planting seeds directly into the soil in late spring and early summer, but only once the soil is over 15°C (59°F).Use a dibber to make 2.5cm (1in) holes and sow two or three seeds every 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) with 60cm (24in) between rows. Cover and water. Thin to leave the strongest seedling when they are 2cm (1in) tall.
In cooler climates it is worth protecting the emerging seedlings with fleece.
Hoe shallowly when weeding to avoid root disturbance and in exposed areas earth up the stems to 13cm (5in) to increase stability.
Although sweetcorn can tolerate high temperatures and drought, this can lead to poor pollination (empty cobs!)
Water regularly, especially if you notice the leaves curling and when the cobs begin to swell. Apply nitrogen fertiliser once the plants are about 20cm (8in) tall and again when they start producing tassels.
Traditional wisdom says harvest your corn the day before the raccoons do !
(although perhaps here in Mayo it would be before the slugs do!)
Look for fat, dark green ears with brown tassels. Squeeze to test for firmness and a rounded, not pointed tip. A final test would be to puncture a kernel with a fingernail. If it spurts milky liquid, it's ready. Simply twist the cob away from the plant. Try to pick and eat the same day as this will give the best flavour and sweetness.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 Seeds Seed Form Treated to improve germination. Common Name Early variety. Normal sugar type. Other Common Names Sweet corn, Sugar corn, Corn Other Language Names FR: maïs doux Family Poaceae Genus Zea Species mays Cultivar Earligold F1 Synonym Zea mays var. rugosa, Maize Hardiness Hardy Annual